I don’t own House or BTVS. No infringement is intended. Sadly, no profit will be made from this either.
"Parasite?" Buffy cried out in alarm, quickly thinking of who she fought with in the recent past. Could she have caught something from a demon? Then again, how would House know about it? What had The Powers That Be done this time?
"Easy!" Cuddy interrupted her increasingly panicked thoughts soothingly, guessing parasite meant a complete different thing to Buffy than it did to House. Well, to be honest, it meant a completely different thing to anyone but
House. "It's House, remember?"
Feeling Buffy calm down under her hand, Cuddy added curiously, "You're pregnant?"
"Huh?" Okay, now Buffy was really confused. First she had a parasite and now she was pregnant?
Smiling, Cuddy explained, "House's preferred way of talking about babies is calling them parasites."
"Oh, okay," Buffy said. Then the meaning of said comment hit her. "Wait! I'm not
"Sure you are," House said matter-of-factly.
"I'm not," Buffy insisted.
House pulled a funny face at her. "Are."
"Not," Buffy replied, mimicking his face pulling antics.
Having heard enough, Cuddy held up her hand. "Stop!" Ignoring House who was playing with his cane, Cuddy turned to Buffy. "When was your last period?"
Staring at House as if to dare him to make any inappropriate comments, Buffy thought back. "A few weeks ago? It's never been very regular to start with."
In fact, Giles had once approached this subject. Just watching him blush furiously and stutter around the topic had made the talk funny rather than embarrassing as she had imagined it would be. Still, among all the glasses cleaning and sighing Giles had managed to tell her that it was common for the Slayer to experience irregular periods. Firstly, they, as hard as it may sound, didn't exist to breed but to fight. Secondly, by infusing a demon essence into a human girl they had obviously messed with her physiology and caused all kinds of side effects.
"Define 'a few'," House asked while getting the ultrasound machine ready. It was the reason he'd changed examination rooms in the first place, as he'd seen Dr Smith leave it together with a clearly pregnant woman. As if that wasn't enough indication, the picture the dark woman was stupidly grinning at told him of the presence of the portable ultrasound machine without a doubt.
Furrowing her brows in thought, Buffy finally said, "Three, maybe four." Nodding to herself, she tried to get up again. "Which means I can't be pregnant and you're wrong."
"Stay down," House all but ordered and at least managed to have Buffy stop mid-motion. "Bleeding is quite common in early pregnancy."
Letting herself fall down with a thud, Buffy said, "It is? That really sucks."
"The wonders of human physiology at work," House commented flippantly.
"Whatever." Crossing her arms in front of her chest, Buffy challenged House, "It still doesn't mean I'm pregnant."
"Stop!" Cuddy said forcefully before House could reply. "We've been through this before and it isn't any funnier the second time around."
"I think it is," House replied immediately and his smirk widened when Buffy agreed with him.
Throwing her hands in the air in exasperation, Cuddy huffed, "Children." Looking back at Buffy, she asked much gentler, "Do you sleep more than usual?"
Buffy shrugged her shoulders and said quickly, "Just catching up with years of way too short nights."
House snorted and grinned smugly at Buffy. Even though he didn't utter a single word, his posture could clearly be read as 'Told you so!'.
"Mood swings?" Cuddy continued – and stared House down when he raised his hand, his eyes sparkling with mischief. "Unjustified
"My fiancé just died. That should qualify for a few mood swings, shouldn't it?" Buffy said rather annoyed. "And no, I'm not puking my guts out either."
"How about your eating habits?" House asked, ignoring the death glare coming from Buffy.
That threw Buffy off. "What do you mean by eating habits? What's wrong with them?" Grinning triumphantly after she thought on it, she added, "They haven't changed at all."
"You mean you always eat like you've got an extended family hiding in there?" House asked rather astonished while motioning towards her belly.
That allowed for only one reply - Buffy went into full pout mode. "Just so you know, I've got a fast metabolism. There's no need to mock me because of it."
Tapping his chin thoughtfully, House carefully prodded her belly. "Or you really have
got a parasite in there. Of the tapeworm kind."
"Eww!" Buffy exclaimed disgusted, scrunching up her face as well. "No. Definitely no tapeworm in there."
Shrugging his shoulders, House asked, "What about tender-"
"House!" Cuddy barked. Then, motioning towards the ultrasound, she continued in a normal voice, "Do your ultrasound."
Now it was Buffy's turn to protest – only to be interrupted by Cuddy as well. "I'm sorry. It's simply fastest to let him do the ultrasound to prove him right or wrong."
House and Buffy shouted simultaneously.
Shaking her head in defeat, Cuddy sighed deeply, murmuring more to herself than anyone else. "Why
did I get up this morning again?"
Chuckling at Cuddy, House got the ultrasound gel from the cart, opening the bottle.
"Don't you need to warm this up?" Buffy complained moodily, causing Cuddy to start muttering again.
"Nope," House said lightly. "It's a common misconception that it's cold when it is in fact nice and warm."
"And slimy," Buffy added. Her frown deepened even more upon his smirk and she stared at him suspiciously. "Uh huh. And I can see from here that it's cold."
Raising his eyebrows, House looked from Buffy to the bottle in his hand and back. "Really? That's a new one. Temperature sensing eyes." And, without further ado, he squirted a generous amount onto Buffy's still exposed belly. Just because he could and Buffy glared so nice and accusingly at him, he added some more.
"Hey! That is so not of the warm!" Buffy exclaimed. Pouting again, she grumbled, "Poor kid. Catching his first cold from the cruel Dr Evil."
"Are you sure you're not related?" Cuddy finally asked in irritation, looking accusingly between the two.
While House only chuckled and looked rather pleased with himself, Buffy opened her eyes unnaturally wide in shock. "No. NO!" she blurted out. "No relation between us. Nope. Nothing. We're just related to our relatives. Yep. That's it," Buffy continued, nodding vigorously – only to have both House and Cuddy stare at her with growing interest. Especially House. Wincing, Buffy looked sheepishly at Cuddy, "Too much?"
Holding her thumb and forefinger about an inch apart, Cuddy nodded, sporting a wide smile. "Slightly."
"Oh," was all Buffy said in reply.
House watched them with interest and filed Buffy's reply away for later when he had time to think about it. Right now he had to prove himself right. Rubbing his hands together in anticipation, he said cheerfully, "Okay, kiddies. Let's check out the parasite."
The monitor turned so only he could see it, House moved the probe across Buffy's belly. The longer he moved it around, the more tense Buffy became. What if she really was pregnant? What would she do without Mark? What-
Cuddy chose that moment to interrupt Buffy's musings after having felt her becoming more tense with every passing minute. Rubbing Buffy's shoulder reassuringly, she said, "House! Mind sharing with the class?"
Grinning smugly, he was about to decline when he caught sight of Buffy's anxious expression. Sighing theatrically, making sure Cuddy knew just what big a sacrifice he was making by complying with her request, he turned the monitor for both Cuddy and Buffy to see. "Here's your spawn, snug as a bug in a rug."
"You're pregnant," Cuddy translated immediately, intensifying the soothing circles her hand made on Buffy's shoulder.
"Yep. Looks like the rugrat slept through mommy's beating up of the bad guys too," House added complacently.
"Oh," was all Buffy managed to say as a million thoughts assaulted her at once. Then House's last comment made it through and Buffy's eyes opened wide in shock once more. There had been a lot of beatings in the last couple of month. What if they did something to the baby House didn't pick up on? Panic threatening to take over, she helplessly watched from House to Cuddy.
Cuddy, guessing what Buffy was thinking about, well, about today's fight anyway, nodded towards the foetal heart monitor. Rolling his eyes, they could see the little heart beating just fine after all, House nevertheless complied. Placing it next to the probe he switched it on and seconds later the room was filled with the unmistakeable sound of rather quick heartbeats.
Smiling reassuringly, Cuddy looked at Buffy again. "That's your baby's heartbeat and it sounds just like it's supposed to."
"Really?" Buffy asked in a voice laced with both wonder and fear. "It's so fast."
Cuddy nodded. The sound suddenly hitting her full-force, bringing back memories she had suppressed for so long. Taking a deep breath, she tried to blink away the tears that rapidly threatened to fall. Last time she'd heard this sound coming from her own body she had lost the baby only a few days later. The one time before that, her baby had been stolen from her. At least now there was hope she'd finally meet her daughter again.
Watching the two women lost in their emotions, House just rolled his eyes. Hormones! Starting to move the wand again, but leaving the heart monitor attached to it, he went back to making sure everything was indeed alright. Then, shocking even himself, he searched for the best view and made a couple of print-outs for Buffy.
Finally having enough of this sentimentality, he spoke up again. "Judging by the size and developmental stage of the parasite I'd say you're about 12 weeks pregnant."
Cuddy's head snapped up at that assessment. Thinking back, she realised Buffy had only been with them for 10 weeks or so, although it felt much longer. In fact, House could have told Cuddy that it had only been 8 weeks since Buffy started at Princeton-Plainsboro, which only served to prove Cuddy's last thought. However, it also brought up another question. Just how close to her departure to Princeton-Plainsboro did her fiancé die?
"Buffy?" Cuddy asked cautiously.
Wiping away the single tear running down her cheek, Buffy shook her head and got off the table. She didn't want to, couldn't
, talk right now. Walking to her discarded top, she ignored the blood-stains and put it back on. On auto-pilot she walked to the door only to be stopped by Cuddy's hand on her shoulder.
When she turned around, her face was all but expressionless.
Sighing, Cuddy gave her the print-outs she'd snatched from House. "Go home. Take time to think. I don't want you back here until Tuesday. Then we'll have a look at your stitches and go from there, okay?" Cuddy said gently. "And if you want to talk… " Cuddy added just before Buffy left the room, leaving the end hanging in the air. Buffy nodded and Cuddy thought she saw something like gratitude cross her features.
Once Buffy was gone, Cuddy closed the door again, leaning her forehead against it. What was it that made her want to protect Buffy from about everything she could think of? Oh god, was she projecting her anxiousness about meeting her daughter onto Buffy? Groaning, Cuddy pushed herself off the door and turned around.
Only to find herself staring directly into House's calculating eyes.
Straightening her already smooth skirt, she asked louder than she intended to, "What?"
House just continued to watch her. There was something else going on Cuddy wasn't talking about. She was too
caring. Okay, Buffy had just saved the hospital some bad publicity – something he'd have to investigate further as well – but that didn't explain just why Cuddy had been so sympathetic with her when he'd announced Buffy's pregnancy.
Somehow he couldn't imagine Cuddy miscarrying a couple of years ago was the sole reason for it. Cuddy seemed too surprised by her own reaction so he guessed he was missing something. He just had to find out what.
"Not sure yet," he finally answered honestly, shrugging his shoulders.
"House," Cuddy said annoyed. As her glaring at him didn't result in any more answers, she decided to let him be for now. Instead, she asked a question that had been bothering her for a while now. "When exactly did her fiancé die?" Cuddy didn't even bother asking him if he knew, she just assumed, correctly, of course, that he did.
"Shortly after giving Buffy his leaving present in form of the parasite," House replied, absently twirling his cane around his fingers. "Two weeks before she moved back to the States."
"Oh boy," was all Cuddy could reply to that.
Once she had left the examination room, Buffy let instinct guide her to her locker. Quickly changing into a spare blouse, discarding the cut and bloody one, Buffy gathered her stuff and left the hospital.
As soon as the air warm summer air hit her, she woke from her haze, feeling rather lost.
Finally she caught the strange glares a few passers-by sent her way and she realised that she was standing in the middle of the pavement, right in front of the open clinic entrance. Sighing, she ordered her feet to take her home and started to walk towards the park.
Buffy had no idea how long it took her or how she managed, but the next time she took a close look at her surrounding she found herself in her own living room. Walking straight to the mantel piece, she took the picture of her and Mark at their engagement party, staring at the genuine happy Buffy smiling back at her for a long time.
Eventually, a small smile started to play across her lips.
Bringing the picture close, she kissed the image of Mark softly.
"You're going to be a daddy."
--A/N: Wow! I must make sure to leave more cliffhangers! I loved all the reviews I've got because of that. LOL. I know you are eagerly waiting for the proper Buffy/Cuddy introduction – and we are almost there! So stay tuned for next chapter … and I wouldn't mind a little review or two ;). Oh, and thanks again to Mistress of the Knight for beta-reading this chapter!